James’s Blog: On Being Misunderstood.

The Second Listening Book is now available from Amazon, and I thought that I should mention this in the blog. It’s another collection of short stories and parables, ripe for misunderstanding. Being misunderstood is an occupational hazard for me. I’ve preached at least one sermon where my sophisticated and intelligent delivery (i.e. being too clever for my own good) was taken to mean that I was saying the exact opposite of what I was really trying to say, with hilarious consequences.

The meanings of the stories in The Listening Book and The Second Listening Book are sometimes clear and sometimes not. Although I had a very specific message in mind for each story as I wrote it, the purpose of the books is to create space for God, rather than me, to say something. Usually, what God wants to say is a lot more interesting than what I have to say. Still, if you’re keen to try and discern what was in my head when I was writing, then there’s plenty of scope for misunderstanding.

That’s probably for the best though. Clarence Darrow, a lawyer, once said, “I have suffered from being misunderstood, but I would have suffered a lot more if I had been understood.” I wonder if that might be true for me too. After all, calling others to rethink their way of looking at the world can get you into a lot of trouble. When Jesus was misunderstood they scratched their heads, said “What is he talking about?” and thought that he was mad, but when they began to understand, they wanted him dead.

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